What Will Grow Your Business More – SEO or SEM?

Unfolding the truth to success on digital platforms: SEO v/s SEM

With top 2 online activities being search and email, marketing has shifted its ground to online platforms, technocrats have discovered jargons and acronyms that at times seems to have a similar contrast. With 81% people performing some or the other kind of research before making any purchase, lets look into this online marketing perspective.


It is stated that 61% of the internet users do an online research about the intended product before making a purchase. Search Marketing can be elaborated as “the process of acquisition of traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid effort.” Or, it relates to any strategy that aids a brand in getting attention on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Search Marketing is further divided into two major divisions:

  • SEO: Pull in of traffic through free listings or by ORGANIC strategies.
  • SEM: Pull in of traffic through paid listings or by PAID strategies.

Natively called as “Search Engine Marketing”, the tiny clause “Search Marketing” is broadly used as an umbrella term atop SEO and SEM.

Let’s have an insight of these two extensive terms:


SEO is an indispensable constituent of the mammoth; SEM. SEO as terminology can be expressed as the process of escalation of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that site lists on top of the results returned by a search engine.

“Around 14.6% close leads have the rate compared to just 1.7% for the departing leads when compared with the print advertisements.”

SEO incorporates tons of ORGANIC White Hat SEO techniques to help a brand increase their search ranking by following three schemes: On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO.

A well-built SEO strategy is not solely based on these three types but in-place combines all three to deliver best outcomes.

On the other hand, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an acronym of Internet Marketing which encompasses promotion of websites with an aid of optimization and advertisement by spiraling their cognizance in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

“This strategy is at times referred as the paid search or pay per click (PPC) marketing.”

The click-through rate which is considered as an important parameter has declined by 13% to 47.4% in comparison to the search ads which has risen by 75% to 3.69% for the same period of time for the first Quarter of 2019.

The most common example for this kind of strategy is Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), the search results are displayed either at the top or at the bottom of SERPs and each time a user clicks on the ad, the endorsed brand gets charged.


The Search results play an important differentiator considering the fact that result of an SEM or SEO appear different on SERPs. We surely have noticed an ad icon before any search result, well that’s SEM. Whereas, results of an SEO are not marked by such an extension and are organic in nature.

Another factor is the cost, i.e. you are liable to pay some amount each time an SEM result is clicked by a user. On the flip side you pay nothing when a user clicks on an SEO result.

With just a few clicks, your results can be put down in front of your audiences in case of paid SEM ads. At any point of time, you can turn ads ON to increase visibility or turn them OFF to stop showing them. In SEO, it becomes little tedious as it is time consuming and can take months before a brand begins to rank on search engines.

SEM is considered more acceptable for testing than SEO considering the fact that you can immediately turn SEM paid ads OFF and ON. This flexibility allows you to monitor the differences in your strategies which is not possible in case of SEO as it takes too much time to make changes in SEO.

One more factor is value addition over a period of time, SEO adds value over time whereas SEM doesn’t, as SEM is active for the period of time you pay for your results, whereas SEO grows and compounds over time leaving ever-lasting results.

When we consider the click-through-rate, initial few organic search results have the highest click-through rates. SEO outperforms SEM, if you can make it to the top, otherwise SEM can fetch you more clicks than organic strategies.

Also Read: Why is Digital Marketing Important for Small Businesses?


Now, as we have compared SEO and SEM on various parameters, it would be easier for us to decide which one suits better for our marketing strategy on the basis of following parameters:

Know your Competition

Having a sharp eye on your competitors and analyzing how they are doing with their search results can help you differentiate between theirs and your website. As you tend to analyze, try out to fill those organic gaps with that of yours.

Know your Industry

If you have been in the business for a considerable period of time and know the wants of your customer, you may build a long-term SEO strategy to provide value over time. Whereas if you aren’t sure of your audience’s response to your content, then running an SEM campaign is the best strategy for you to test your ideas, products, and services.

Average Cost-Per-Click in your Industry

Before considering an SEM strategy, research about the considerable amount of capital it can involve along with the competition. If your cost per click is low, it might be a right strategy for you on the flipside higher cost per click strategy might tempt you to focus on SEO.

Age of your Business

Considering you are new to the business world; it’s going to take time to mark your presence by SEO while SEM can be a better option to drive traffic while building organic SEO.


There’s no concrete answer to consider as to which one of SEO or SEM outperforms the other. While a tactic may sound good for one person might have a different prospectus for other one, it’s also possible that combination of both the strategies put your website on a higher rank. With average time spent on a search session is less than 1 minute, it’s becomes very crucial for one to decide what suits to one’s business needs and how he approaches the search engine platform. 50% of visitors are more likely to click a result if the brand appears multiple times in search engine results. Well, with all that said, there’s much more to be discovered. With Biz4Group’s Digital marketing services you can bring your business up in the search engine rankings with maximum ROI.

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